Al Qaeda spokesman: Easy to buy U.S. guns
01:53 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

Video from 2011 shows al Qaeda spokesman discussing ease of buying a gun in the U.S.

Adam Gadahn is known for sharing his thoughts through video

The video resurfaced on Buzzfeed as debate Congress continues over gun control

Al Qaeda has had a history of inspiring lone wolf terrorists

Washington CNN  — 

A video from 2011 has resurfaced showing American-born al Qaeda spokesman Adam Gadahn discussing how easy it is to buy guns in the United States and urging fellow radicals to do so.

In the video, the California-raised Gadahn said militants should arm themselves for attacks on Western governments.

“America is absolutely awash with easily obtainable firearms,” said Gadahn, “You can go down to a gun show at the local convention center and come away with a fully automatic assault rifle, without a background check, and most likely without having to show an identification card. So what are you waiting for?”

Al Qaeda supports lone wolf terrorists abroad and has emphasized shootings, which require less specialized training than bombings or other attacks and may have a better chance of succeeding.

The Army psychiatrist accused in the Fort Hood massacre in November 2009 and the suspect in the shooting of two U.S. servicemen at Frankfurt airport in early 2011 allegedly were inspired by al Qaeda.

Gadahn isn’t new to sharing his thoughts through video.

In 2006, he praised those who took part in the 9/11 attacks and called President Barack Obama a “devious, evasive and serpentine American president with a Muslim name.”

However, the video released in June 2011 has found new life on amid the drive for new gun control laws in the United States following last December’s school massacre in Connecticut.

Federal law requires background checks on gun sales from licensed dealers and proposed legislation in the Senate would expand the mandate to gun shows and Internet transactions.

Still, Gadahn was wrong about the ease of buying a fully automatic weapon. It is illegal under federal law to do so from anyone but a specially-licensed dealer, and additional permission is required as is a background check.

Are they legal? Yes. Are they as easily obtainable as Gadahn suggests? No.

CNN’s Paul Cruickshank and Tim Lister contributed to this report.